Subject: Re: For Approval: German Free Software License
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 29 Nov 2004 11:31:38 -0500

Thorsten Glaser <> writes:

> Now now... what is so difficult in OSI certifying a specific instance
> of the D-FSL as OSD conformant, and once a new version comes out and
> you don't like the new version (or until it's OSI approved) you just
> add a 10-liner you wrote yourself to it, placing it under GNU GPL?

The automatic upgrade to a new license might remove the ability to put
the code under the GPL.  The proposed license does not clearly state
that the new binding version of the license does not apply to older
versions of the code which have been put under the GPL.

Even if that is fixed, note that if the new version of the license
does not permit putting code under the GPL, then, once you have become
aware of it, it has become binding, and it is too late to put the code
which you have under the GPL as you suggest.  (Although in that case
it would work to always combine with GPL code right away, to make sure
that your rights were not lost.)

> >                                                 This retroactively
> >affects every external project that uses the code.
> It's common sense that you cannot retroactively take back rights
> granted under a published licence until the licence explicitly
> states that.

If that is true, then it would seem that the GFSL can not make the new
version binding on existing software anyhow.

> >change, and political climates in all countries change. You cannot
> >guarantee to the list that the license may change 10 years from now to
> >disallow any/all OSI rights.
> Who does guarantee that the OSI will keep the OSD always conformant
> to the spirit which lies beyond it right now?

It doesn't matter, because the existing licenses conform to the OSD as
it stands today.  There is no automatic upgrade clause in any existing
OSI approved license.